Electroplankton Designer Introduces New Handheld

Toshio Iwai introduces Tenori-On at Manchester's Futuresonic festival

Posted by Staff
SPOnG has long been a fan of Toshio Iwai’s ground-breaking Electroplankton, so our ears perked up when we heard that the artist has teamed up with Yamaha to develop a new handheld music-making, err, thingy.

We suppose, if pushed, we would have to refer to it as a handheld electronic music instrument, but we are not sure if Iwai himself would be happy with this description.

The project/device is called called Tenori-On, and is made up of a 16 x 16 grid of LED buttons with two built-in speakers. Iwai introduced the device to European eyes at Manchester’s Futuresonic electronic musical festival on Friday.

Users can either lightly strum the Tenori-On’s LED buttons or press them down in order to light up a button. Notes are also activated by a regular line of light moving from left to right, a la Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s PSP classic, Lumines.

There are also four buttons along the side of the Tenori-On thingy/device/instrument from which you can select different musical instruments, enabling you to build up your music in layers – just as with a more traditional synthesiser. There is also a volume roller button at the bottom of the device.

Tenori-On will also incorporate some basic game features – similar to Pong and Breakout – which will also add to the music being generated, whilst you play. There is also talk of a collaborative element, whereby you will be able to wirelessly create music with another Tenori-On on user.

As is always the case with Toshio Iwai, it’s mind-bogglingly beautiful and inventive. Whether it is going to be anything more than an art project for the cutting edge of the electronic music scene, or perhaps might have more mass market appeal, remains to be seen.

For more information on Tenori-On check out the official website.


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